Monday, August 18, 2008

Spotting smoke

"Fire fighters work to put of a small shed fire on Kays Mill Road in Westminster Tuesday afternoon. It was reported that it began around 11:00 a.m., and two minor injuries were reported. One minor burn to the property owner and one to a firefighter."

Until my summer intern start at The Baltimore Sun, I've never witnessed a fire. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I've always been somewhat of a breaking news hound.

You never know when you're going to stumble onto something newsworthy, so you always have to keep your senses alert. I am not sure why, but in the past two-weeks I’ve observed two fires. The second one was last week.

Following my morning assignment at Ravens training camp, I started to make my way back to Baltimore instead of transmitting from the local hotel.

I don't know why I decided to drive back and move my images from the office. Well, it probably was because I didn't have any other assignments scheduled for the remainder of the day, didn't have any friends to eat the delicious media lunch with and my deadline was mid-afternoon.

As I trekked down the highway I spotted some smoke at a distance. It wasn't a normal camp fire, wood burning smoke; it resembled the same smoke I witnessed at the house fire a couple weeks ago.

Upon further inspection, I noticed it had probably just started and followed the smoke and sound of fire engines.

When I pulled onto the road it was on, I saw an elderly lady on the fringe of her driveway, so I pulled in and asked if it would be OK to park there. She said it was fine, but made me promise to inform her of what was happening when I made it back to my car.

She was obviously upset and told me her cousin lived up the hill where we could see firemen racing to the smoke.

As I made my way up the hill and began shooting, I was relieved to see it was only a large barn on fire and had overheard no one was injured.

Then something funny happen. Shooting from one knee, I stood up and looked directly to my right. It was Glenn, another Sun photog and editor. I found it ironic that we were both there, next to each other and didn't even notice one another.

I had been there probably 10 minutes or less before him. He had thought I was a shooter from the local paper since he couldn't see my face, as my camera was glued to it.

He had been going out to Westminster, while I was heading home from Westminster.

We were both in the right place right time, but he told me to handle it and went on his way.

Following the extinguishing I found out that no one had been seriously injured and that a tractor had started the blaze.

It's always a good thing when no one is hurt, but it's always a bit of excitement when you stumble across some unscheduled spot news.

As for the elder woman whom let me park in her driveway. She couldn’t have been happier to hear the news that no one was hurt. Not only did I have a bit of adrenaline rush that morning, I made someone else’s day, and sometimes that is all that matters.


Blogger Patrick said...


It is always a good feeling to -stumble- onto some good photos. I had something very similar happen to me. I went out on my day off and happened to still have the office scanner in my truck...whoops. I was driving out to the country to shoot some birds at a lake and then I heard a call over the radio..A fire directly where I was heading. After it was all said and done, the blaze had ate over 1000 acres and a bunch of barns. Sometimes you just get lucky in your coverage....


Monday, August 18, 2008 1:40:00 PM  

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